Fort Norton
Cannon at Fort Norton
Howitzer at Fort Norton
This 12-pounder mountain howitzer probably saw more action during the Mexican War and on the Western prairie than it did during the Civil War. Although a smoothbore with the same bore as the Napoleon and capable of firing the same projectiles, it was small enough to be broken down and transported on pack animals.
Using tactics that Nathan Bedford Forrest himself might suggest, Col. Abel D. Streight, the New York born commander of a Hoosier infantry regiment proposed to William Rosecrans a daring plan where 2000 men would infiltrate the enemy lines on a mission of destruction whose ultimate goal was Rome, Ga. and beyond. Forrest, who had been ordered to help locals defend against the advancing Union Army in southern Tennessee, heard that a large body of enemy soldiers was moving to the east through Moulton, Alabama in late April, 1863. Realizing the danger this presented, Forrest moved south in pursuit of his new target, a numerically superior force with tactical advantages, The Lightning Mule Brigade. Streight surrendered on May 3, 1863 and the city of Rome gave Forrest a hero's welcome.

On July 13, 1863, the city council allocated $3,000 to build a string of forts around Rome. Over the next 3 months a significant amount of work was completed on the fortifications under command of James F. Laulor. Slaves were hired for the project. In September of that year three of the forts were named for Rome area men who had died in the war. On the west bank of the Oostanaula River stood Fort Attaway. On the south bank of the Etowah stood Fort Stovall. On the east bank of the Oostanaula, north of the city, stood Fort Norton.

With the advance of the Union Army into North Georgia in September of that year the project became important to the government in Richmond. General Braxton Bragg ordered Confederate forces to the city with the directive that the fortifications were to "be completed in proper military style and manned with siege guns...".

Map to Fort NortonThe north was worried about the string of earthworks the rebels were constructing and sent at least one spy to report on the progress the city was making. His report, the best contemporary description of the fortifications included the trenches on Jackson Hill.

"Near the bridge over Oostanaula River, on the east side of the river, a large fort is being built which commands the approach from Alabama on the west. Near it are some 32-pounder guns not mounted. This line of fortifications is laid out but only partially built, runs up this river to the mountains north of town and connects with another fort laid out but not built, that commands the road running in from the north. "

The work continued on the earthworks until May, 1864, when Union General Jefferson C. Davis approached the city and reported he was under attack from "two formidable fieldworks, one situated on the east bank of the Oostanaula and the other on the south bank of the Coosa...The works look so strong I thought it imprudent to storm them hastily" However, the Confederate troops stationed there pulled out under orders from General Joseph E. Johnston, and Davis captured the city.

When John Bell Hood moved through northwest Georgia during the Nashville Campaign, the Union Army spent three weeks improving the earthworks.

Location: Civic Center Hill, Rome, Georgia
Directions: Take I-75 to exit 290 (Georgia 20). Turn left (west) on S.R. 20 and continue for 2.3 miles. At Highway 411 turn left, then make an immediate right on to the entrance ramp for Highway 41. Be careful at the end of this ramp and obey the current attempt at traffic control. Last time we went this way there was a stop sign. In 2.8 miles Highway 41 splits off. Continue on Highway 411 to Rome for 18.4 miles, exiting to the US 27 ramp. Continue north on Highway 27 to the depot (on right). Continue past the depot to the top of the hill.
Additional information:

Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: December 5, 2003

Other Attractions in Rome
Rome Depot
Clock Tower
Chieftains Musuem / Major Ridge Home
Rome Area History Museum
The Martha Berry Museum
Oak Hill
Noble Brothers Foundry
Myrtle Hill

Roadside Listing
Track Rock
Rock Eagle Effigy Mound
Big Red Apple
Historic Squares of Savannah
Georgia Guidestones
Rock City
Wilder Tower
Babyland General Hospital
Clock Tower
Stonepile Gap
Moon's Station
Etowah River Bridge
Cooper's Iron Works
Cass Station
Oostanaula River Bridge
John B. Gordon Hall
Relief Map at Ringgold
Relief Map at Dalton
Resaca Map
Noble Brothers Foundry
Kennesaw House
The Big Chicken
Coca-Cola bottle at Turner Field
Cagle's Dairy
World of Coca Cola
Skylift at Stone Mountain Park
Market House

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